The Michigan Daily-Saturday, October 14, 1978-Page 5
Joel's image suits his show
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By ANNE SHARP
Billy Joel, the little sloe-eyed
entertainer who did a turn Thursday
night at Crisler Arena, has got it made.
e has an appealing face which looks
btl on album covers, a smooth, strong
voice and a distinctive delivery style
hehas a coy, babyish way of rounding
ff this "ow" sounds), a good musical
backup, and a knack at piano playing
and songwriting. All he needs now is an
image that the people will remember,
and he's got that all figured out.
On the inner sleeve of The Stranger
album, and on publicity posters for the
Crisler show, Joel looks up at us with
liquid brown eyes, a pair of boxing
gloves slung round his neck. The gloves
were a brilliauit move by his publicists,
because Joel looks like he could by
Sylvester Stallone's little brother. Joel
wants to come across as a tough, street-
wise, sophisticated John Garfield-type
character, with a mouthful of poetry,
ready to kick ass at a moment's
provocation. His dark suit, frayed
collar and black tie, East Coast-
centered lyrics, and elaborate piano
bar keyboard style, all convey this
AT FIRST, Joel kept pretty much to
by mike taylor
IF YOU MISSED Patti Smith's "poetry readings" at Second Chance this
Iweek, you missed two of the more eccentric events in Ann Arbor's oft-
amusing arts calendar.
Though Monday night's crowd had ample reason to be ......off at her
after a half-hour set of jokes, half-baked songs, and insults traded with row-
dies, Tuesday night's group got a show they're likely to remember for some
time. The previous evening's Patti Smith, an eerie blend of gloom and
nervousness, had been replaced byone who glittered with ebullience; Tues-
day night, Smith was confident, charming, and, most importantly,
successful as an entertainer. Though without her band, she thrilled us with
poetry and rock 'n' roll versions of "Poppies," Redondo Beach," "Hey Joe,"
AFTER TRYING to interview Smith earlier this year, and confronting a
brick wall with a patronizing sense of humor instead, I was apprehensive
about attempt number two. But as soon as she walked into the room, I knew
something was different. The dark clouds I remembered hovering above her
last February had drifted away; instead of a scowling ghoul, I was facing a
person who looked relaxed and eager to talk. We chatted for about half-an-
hour, discussing everything from Patti's poems and music to the role of
breakfast cereal in America's future.
I asked her about "babel field," a poem from her book Babel. With lines
i couldn't plug in anywhere so i hid my amp in the bushes and threw
my guitar over my shoulder. it weighs less than a machine gun and
never runs out of ammunition.
it seems to use rock 'n' roll as a metaphor for warfare.
"It's just a fantasy I have about battles of the future being fought by
young people, by children, and what they do is they go out in the fields and
they put up millions and millions of amplifiers - millions of them. I thought
they could have guitar battles like snowball fights where no one ever really
hurts each other, but there is clearly a winner. You have a sound battle. It is
neo-warfare, but it's not destructive. The guys that lose gotta bury their
guitars into the ground no matter how rare the guitar is and stick the neck
up, so then you got millions of bayonets covering the whole field."
"I named the book Babel because I love the Babel Bible story. The
reason ltI ,Athe story's a real nice story is that it implies that there was a
time in our history where man did indeed universally communicate. When
man achieves that state, universal communication, God himself said it,
anything in which man imagines is possible. I think we can do anything we
want to. I think it's the most underground desire. I think the seed does exist.
It's a neat thing to think about. If you worry about, say your children coming
into a world that's only going to be shittier and shittier and filled with
chemicals and fucked up with bombs, it's a good thing to think about."
BUT MANY FOLKS think of Patti as a rock 'n' roller rather than a poet
or philosopher, so naturally our conversation turned to her musical plans.
"We're goingto be doing a group album soon, and I'm going to be
working on a solo record. What we're involved in in terms of the future is far
beyond Easter. Easter was really . . . it was like when you feel like you're
drowning for a long time, and you think that there's no hope, and all of a
sudden there's something to grab onto. It isn't life itself, but it does sustain
you until your next step. Well, on the next record with the band I'm really
hoping that it will be either the ultimate statement of the band or the first in
a series of ascending ultimate statements. It will either be our last album or
the beginning of a whole new voyage. It's going to be a very important album
for the band. Either way it's going to be a great album because we have a lot
at stake. It's all or nothing."
As for her solo album, she said, "I'll play clarinet on it. It will be more
like field music, more like horizontal adventure." When this brought a
puzzled look to my face, she added, "not so much songs, but a more linear
kind of adventure, because I'll be doing most of it myself and that's the way I
Since I share with Patti a keen interest in the future, I asked her if she
saw any changes in store for America.
"I'd like to see us less obsessed by economics. The whole country is
trying to pull its pants up to the middle class, upper middle class. They're so
obsessed and scared about that stuff that they keep consuming stuff to prove
to themselves that they're up there, you know. They gotta get out of that kind
of thinking. It's bad all those things they buy kids - all these toys and this
millions of cookies and hundreds of cereals and stuff. But then I guess things
aren't so bad. I mean there were millions of cereals around when I was a kid.
You just have to be a strong kid and resist them."
Patti Smith resisted, and ate shredded wheat for years. And look where
she is now.
his piano, accompanying himself on
"The Stranger" and "Piano Man,"
Gradually, he slipped in snappy bits of
stage business; for "New York State of
Mind," he produced shades and a too-
cool-for-words stance. Mike in hand,
Joel bounced around the stage during
"The Entertainer," looking like a
hybrid Tom Jones and Steve Tyler.
At one point Joel disappeared
offstage, then raced back on again in a
black leather jacket for "Only the Good
Die Young," undoubtedly the rowdiest
number of the evening. Joel looked
perfectly in character with the first-
person narrator of this song, a hood's
love complaint to a sheltered papist
girl, appropriately named Virginia,
with words calculated to offend any
You got a nice white dress anda party
on your con/irmnation
You got a brand new soul
And a cross 0/1gold
But Vir inia tev don't gir dyou
quite enough infl/or/mation
You didn 't count on me
When You were counting on your rosarY
From what Joel played from his
brand new LP 52nd Street, the album
promises to live up to the quality of last
year's Stranger LP, a delightful and
popular recording. "My Life" is a
defiant tune about self-actualization
which may be this year's model of the
hit "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)."
For "Stiletto," Joel summoned onstage
a group of intimidating-looking roadies
in rolled-sleeve black T-shirts to
provide the song's fingersnap obligatto.
In the future, watch for Richard
Cannata. Often spotlighted in the show
were his throaty, Jobimesque
saxophone solos (saxes are a big part of
Joel's musical image). This talented
musician also plays top-notch
woodwinds (flute, clarinet) and
Not breaking with tradition, the
Crisler audience applauded, screamed,
stamped their feet and lit Bics at
appropriate mnoments during the
performance. They rushed the stage
during the finale and the most popular
number, "Only the Good Die Young,"
and naturally made sure that at least
one well-aimed Frisbee missed the star
The University recently received a
$90,000 grant from the National Science
Foundation for the project,
"Terrestrial Heat Flow Measurements
in South America." The project is un-
der the direction of Prof. Henry N.
Pollack and postdoctoral research
associate Icaro Vitorello in the Depar-
tment of Geology and Mineralogy.
1229 S. Univ.
Tickets sold no sooner than 30 minutes prior to showtime.
No tickets sold later than 15 minutes after showtime.
M "A.S*Ho (Robert Altman, 1970)
A thinly-masked anti-war satire set in Korea, but aimed at
Vietnam. A "saucy, outrageous, irreverent film. Nothing is
sacred, not medical surgery, chastity, womanhood, arm disci-
pline, marriage, war movies, or the great American institu-
tion of football."-Time.
Sat. Oct. 14 Nat. Sci. Aud. 7 & 9
A2 Premiere-Two DAYS ONLY!
After five years of dissention and litigation, Bertolucci (LAST TANGO IN PARIS),
has triumphed with this epic. An all-star cast and huge budget, the film traces the
lives of two boys born in Northern Italy on the same day in 1901. Alfredo played
by Robert DeNiro is the heir to the vast land holdings of his grandfather, Burt
Lancaster. Olmo played by Gerard Depardieu is the bastard son of the patriarch.
Sterling Hayden. "A love poem for the movies, part opera-novel, part American
Western, part Little Red Book."-Pauline Koel. ANN ARBOR PREMIERE! (4 hrs.)
TONITE at 7 pm only
SUNDAY at1 pm & 7 pm
Angell Hall, Aud. A
MANN THEATRES Wed. Matinees
MAPLE VILAGE SHOPPNG CENTER
769-1300 ' until 4:30
I 'I SSNOW
EY M flIJN T P ICTiU RES P RE SE NT S SHOW